Dec 6, 2018

Homeschool Review Crew: Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women

On the one hand, I sometimes feel that as a homeschool mom, I spend every waking moment with my kids. On the other hand, as they turn into busy teenagers with plans of their own and hurtle toward the day when they move out altogether, I feel that I can't possibly spend enough time with them.
So I was happy to have a chance to spend a little one-on-one time with the girls as we reviewed Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women from Zondervan.
Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women
This lovely little book provides a wonderful way to stop and savor a few moments of sharing with my girls. They are (almost) 12 and (nearly) 16 and the devotionals were perfect for us to sneak in a brief discussion every day.
As you can see, each day's reading is pretty short, a Scripture verse followed by a few paragraphs of contemplation. At the bottom of each day is a place for journaling. 
The brevity makes it easy to continue to pick it up, even on our crazy busy days. But there is a depth of contemplation that gives us something to discuss every day. The topics also carry over, sometimes, to the next day. For example, on Day 120, we read about Rahab's sins sticking with her in people's minds, so that even when she is being lauded for her faith (Hebrews 11:31), she is still referred to as "the prostitute Rahab". Then on Day 121, we read about Rahab again as James uses her as an example of active faith. Even though her sins stuck with her, she didn't let that stop her from moving forward in faith and making the changes she felt she needed to make... changing her future even though she could not change her past. We spend quite a lot of days lingering through the story of Ruth because there is so much richness in her story. This gives the devotions a sense of continuity.
We read Beloved together on an (almost) daily basis all the way through November. Wait, you say, we started in November??? Not in January? No! That's the best part, this is an undated devotional so you can start whenever you like and if you miss a day (like we did, holidays are crazy, after all) then you are not "behind"! You can just pick it up the next available day and continue right on. 
The book starts in Genesis and works its way through the Bible chronologically, which I like because I am a linear thinker. It's a great way to gently and simply work your way through the Bible in a year.
This devotional is intended for teenagers. However, it is not shallow and silly like a lot of devotionals. We haven't ever really used devotional books for kids over the years because they are mostly just about public school issues and dealing with friend drama. My kids simply don't relate. Beloved, however, is different. The topics were relevant to my girls and Scripture-based. 
  • trusting God like Jochobed did with her baby
  • Ruth's commitment and faithfulness in her relationship with Naomi
  • Deborah's willingness to stand out and be different
  • Abgail's decisive wisdom that saved her household
  • standing firm under pressure unlike Herodias' daughter
But to be honest, these are great topics for a woman of any age. I feel like I got as much out of the reading and discussion as the girls did. I certainly wasn't talked down to and discussing these topics with my girls was priceless!


Oh, and another thing that I liked about this devotional! It started by making the point that the Bible is not a "guys' book" but that God "protected, upheld, and valued women in ways far beyond most cultures" and included many many stories of women in the Bible. I feel this is important to understand in our culture. On the other hand, the stories in Beloved are not just the women's stories. It is important for our girls to have male role models and examples as they are considering or choosing their future husbands and thinking about raising sons someday. 

All in all, we highly recommend Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women. It is a great way to bond with your girls and to grow together spiritually. 
Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women {Zondervan Review}
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Nov 30, 2018

Just Me and My Mom

A picture of my mom and a picture of me at about the same age. Do you think we look alike?

Nov 14, 2018

Homeschool Review Crew: Guitar 360 Method

My teen son, Nate, took up the guitar a while back. We have yet to find him a teacher so he has just been picking up information and skills wherever he can. We have tried a bunch of different free options so we were pretty excited to get a chance to review an online guitar instruction program Guitar 360 Method. We reviewed the Semester 1 Bundle (5 weeks of Absolute Beginner bonus content and 13 weeks of Semester 1)

Guitar 360 Method

Setting up the account was easy and he was able to log in and use the program on both my laptop and his android phone.  Because he had played around with the guitar for so many years, he did not spend much time with the 5 Beginner lessons. He moved on to the regular lessons.

At first he was taken aback that there were only 13 lessons, but quickly realized that 13 lessons was quite a lot of information and it was going to take him longer than 13 weeks to actually learn all the material. He said that the program went from beginner basic to advanced quite quickly. This meant he needed to slow down in order to master the material. Right now he is moving at about half pace, taking a couple weeks for each lesson.

This program is video based. Everything is a video. Nate would watch the video, then he either played along, or if he needed extra work, he paused the video to practice the skill.


The lessons vary but generally contain one or more of these videos:

Goal: where you learn what you are going to learn in this lesson
Instructional videos where all the actual teaching is for this lesson. The amount of instructional videos varies by lesson.
Ear: practice listening to the difference between chords to help you learn to play by ear.
Practice: a video practice session. You just follow the instructions. I liked that the chords are shown with fingering and the name of the chord. (see the picture below)
Quiz: a multiple choice test with instant feedback (this is not for grading purposes but more for a study guide to help you learn and remember)
Downloadable files you can print that will help you retain


I, personally, don't know that much about music, so there are a lot of terms in these lessons that I don't understand but I will give you a brief list of what you will find in these lessons:

Introduction to Fingerstyle
Palm muting
Barre chords

There are 10+ plus hours of content, so there is much more, of course, but that is what looked important or impressive to me.

Nate has enjoyed using Guitar 360 Method over the past few weeks. He has learned a lot already and we expect that he will have greatly improved his skill by the time he finishes the course in a few weeks.

Nate enjoyed that after the first couple of weeks there were a lot of songs to learn to play. His one complaint about the program was that he did not like having to pause the video in order to take the time to work on skills. I am pretty sure this is just a him-thing, though. He gets impatient easily and struggling with pause buttons doesn't help matters.

I appreciated that not just skills were taught, but also theory and ear training. I believe that all three are important and love that he is being exposed to more than just "learn a few chords and play a song".

I also liked that he could move at his own pace. This is not a subscription but a course, so he has access to it for as long as he needs.

Finally, I  liked that he could start playing songs quickly. He says his favorite song that he has learned so far is "Don't Stop Believing". (Probably because that was a song he had heard before.)

We highly recommend Guitar 360 Method and think you should check out the other reviews by clicking on the banner below!

If you have a kid that is eager to learn to play the guitar, now is a great time to try out the program because he is offering a 20% discount to YOU, my readers, by using the coupon code HOMESCHOOL20.

Guitar Lessons with Krisz Simonfalvi {Guitar 360 Method Reviews}

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Hello, readers!

This is Kaytie, from The Writer Artist Nerd, and I'm guest-posting on my mom's blog. If you like short stories, poetry, art, and aesthetics, go check out my blog here:

The Writer Artist Nerd

Anyway, I thought today I'd share a quick poem-- a ramble, if you will. I'm writing this off the top of my head while my family makes cookies in the kitchen and my head is filled with fragments of stories and songs, so I honestly don't know how well this will work-- normally everything is calmer while I write. However it turns out, I hope you enjoy!

A Bond Unbroken

When I was born, red and ugly
Though they cut the cord
-On that day in January, cold and clean
They cannot cut the bond that was formed

Though I may deceive, disappoint, destroy
I cannot break that link
Beware to anyone who strive to separate
The bond is stronger than you think

The connection between us is stronger than cement
And it never wears away
Though years and trials never relent
Neither will our bond, unbroken
Neither will our bond, unbroken.

Nov 10, 2018

Beautiful Things

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched--- they must be felt with the heart.

Helen Keller










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